A simple method for generating trains of high-contrast femtosecond pulses is proposed and demonstrated: a linearly polarized, frequency-chirped laser pulse is passed through a multiple-order wave plate and a linear polarizer. It is shown theoretically that this arrangement forms a train of laser pulses, and in experiments the production of a train of approximately 100 pulses, each of duration, is demonstrated. In combination with an acousto-optic programmable dispersive filter this technique could be used to generate and control pulse trains with chirped spacing. Pulse trains of this type have widespread applications in ultrafast optics.
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